The existence of a speck of dust makes everything possible. If dust does not exist, neither does the universe, nor you, nor I. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Upon a trunk is a framed photograph of my mother, a hand painted photograph, of her when she was young. When my eyes linger I’m introduced to unabashed joy. Before it are three small framed images … her first born – my sister D, and her two sons – C and L.
It is an image of my mother I do not hold in memory…invisible like my father’s. It is of a young woman before she was a widow with three children, a twice divorced, and finally a woman married to T, her first love.
She named her sons after their fathers. Her last two born are daughters, M and S. Within M’s name is Faith. Within S’s name, Joy. A mother’s blessing.
Then there is I…her second born who as a teen exhausted her. “Do I have to?” she responded to a police officer’s question, “Is this your child?”
A mother-daughter relationship defined as “complex.”
My secret childhood fantasy was to come home from school — the afternoon sun warming the kitchen…she standing in the kitchen — and I would hear, “Be more gentle when closing the door.”
Not the vibrations of more gentle but the sounds of more gentle. She could hear…she could hear me…my voice. My faith, my faith despite being the size of a mustard seed was felt by God.
She has come to visit many times as I dust these photographs … often remembering the visit after L’s funeral. She shared that the only time in her life she regretted being deaf was after I told her that within the sound of his girlfriend’s voice was D’s.
This I believe open the door to the realization that if my childhood self had succeeded in finding and pulling out the thread of deafness in the tapestry of my mother’s life, she would no longer be. If she no longer was, then the universe of my life would not exist. It was she, her total being that made everything possible.